Two Star Rating? Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

I’ve noticed while perusing some book review blogs that a number of them will not post a review if they rate the book below three stars. Now, while I appreciate that they are attempting to cut these writers a break, that doesn’t seem entirely right. This seems like a way to try and make it seem as if all books are essentially equal, which they are not. There are good books, bad books, okay books, fantastic books, all right books, “eh” books, “not for me” books, and a plethora of others out there, and people need to be able to tell one from the other. Although, I will say that the star rating system is somewhat flawed, in that people judge the stars differently. A five star rating to one person may be a three star to another. But that doesn’t mean that if a book is deserving of two stars, and you can provide evidence why, then the review shouldn’t be posted.

Books are judged on two things: Cover and star rating, which really shouldn’t be the case. All books should be given a fair chance, but that’s just not how the world works. So, if a really bad book has an amazing cover, but the two star ratings are nowhere to be found, are people being ripped off because they think they are getting a book that isn’t as good as they think? If a bad book only has reviews by the author’s mom and friends giving it a 4.9 average star rating, but every book blog the author has gone to gave it two stars and just didn’t post about it, is that really fair for the reader or the author? How can the author improve if their only feedback is from people who don’t want to discourage them, or are afraid to be honest about how they really feel about their work?

What do you think? Do you post reviews when you rate a book less than three stars? Do you think book review blogs should?


5 thoughts on “Two Star Rating? Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

  1. At last someone who thinks like me! Thanks for this post. I review books, apart from writing them, and my reviews are always honest. Always. I really think that all authors can learn a lot from those called “bad” reviews. Those bad reviews are the ones that can make us improve. If I knew that someone is not writing a review for my book because that person doesn’t want to give me a low rating, I would be really pissed with that person. Why? Because I want to improve my writing and I want to know what I may be doing wrong. So, as a reviewer, I post all kind of reviews from 1 to 5 stars. Why? Because we should be fair and totally honest with the readers.

    • Absolutely! Sure, getting a bad review sucks. It really, really sucks. But, like we both said, it’s one of the ways authors improve.

  2. Yes, I have dropped some 2 star or less ratings. For similar reasons Cinta mentioned above. Conversely, I have learned from 2 star ratings of my work because the reviewer was honest and as you stated in your big bold red letters, supported their arguments! That is critical for me. I do not mind receiving a poor review if it can be supported by referencing the appropriate portions of text. I cannot stand being told that what I wrote is tired, uninspired drivel when: a) Nothing in the review supports the negative comments and b) the reviewer uses worse grammar and spelling than I do. Honesty in reviews can liberate, educate and prod a good writer to become better.

    One thing I do is read over the reviews, starting with the worst and then move on to the book’s blurb/cover and see if it is something I want to read. If there is a sample available (as most ebooks have), I download it and sample the writer’s work. Hopefully between all of those I can form a decent opinion if the book is worth both time and money.

  3. I’ve never completely hated a book–I’ve always found a few things I liked about it. But generally, I don’t think I’d leave a bad review on a book. HOwever–movies are open game! Maybe it’s because I’m less sensitive because it’s not my art form, IDK.

  4. I have a blog for reviews and interviews. When I review I look for the positives… I try and write a detailed review so other people get a feel for the book, rather than looking at the star rating. If I think it is going to be a bad review I would contact the author and email it to them first. I don’t know if that’s what I should do, but my blog is to promote books I like, therefore I won’t post a bad review. I haven’t recieved any below three star reviews on my books, but some of the comments I have taken in and hopefully used to improve my next books. You need people to be honest, but fair. There is no point in slamming another author just for the sake of it. Well I don’t think so anyway!

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